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10 Mistakes Happy People Never Make

10 Mistakes Happy People Never Make

Have you noticed that small, nagging voice in your head that does most of the talking? It is like a hotel guest that forgot to check out. I call it the “mini-me”.

In my case, I’d do a superb job with a client, or at writing a book, and the mini-me would still be unsatisfied. It would find reasons why the success won’t last and why it is not much of a big deal.

A while ago, I realized it was high-time I asked the nagger to shut up!

After all, it’s your mind, it’s your life and it’s your happiness that is at stake here. The more you give in to the mini-me, the more you move away from experiencing life to the fullest.

Happy people seem to get that. They practice a few things, whether consciously or unconsciously. They also avoid certain things like the plague, such as:

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1. Focusing only on your mini-me

Happy, positive people don’t pay a whole lot of attention to their mini-me. Your job is to convert your mini-me into your best friend – and until it becomes one, you say, “Thank you, but I am fine,” and ignore the rest of the chatter.

Focus on what your mini-me is not saying. Focus on the achievements and happy moments of your life. You know the saying, “What you focus on is what you get”. It’s time to put the saying to the test.

2. Putting a dollar amount on success

If you define your success with money, you will find that the amount you earn is never enough. There is always more to be earned. Instead, happy people equate their success with satisfaction and happiness in life.

If you are happy making a thousand dollars a month because it satisfies all your needs, then be happy. Don’t stop yourself because someone else told you a thousand dollars is not enough. Tune into yourself and ask whether you need more; if yes, strive for it. But not at the cost of your own happiness!

3. Always living in the future

In his book The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle stresses the importance of being present. The present is the only time you have right now. It is the only tangible experience for you. The past is in your memories and the future is yet to come.

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Happy people focus on the small things today that will become big successes tomorrow. Seize the day because today will never happen again.

4. Forgetting the magic word

We are a funny species. We forget what is while we focus on what is not. To remind yourself of the small things that bring happiness in your life, keep a gratitude journal. Say, “Thank you,” to the Universe, Source, God (or whatever you call it). Psychological research suggests we are happy when we are grateful for what we already have.

To ‘prove’ this, try writing down three things that went well during a day. Keep doing this for a week, every night, with a causal explanation of why you are grateful for that experience. Notice how you feel after each exercise. In an experiment in 2005, different groups of participants were asked to do the same. At the one-month follow up meeting, the people who used this exercise were happier and less depressed than they had been at the prior meeting. They continued the exercise and stayed happier in the future follow-ups.

5. Dreaming small

Somehow, we are conditioned to dream small. We are told to be careful of the challenges life throws our way. Successful people don’t limit their dreams – they dare to dream BIG.

That said, they also have a series of smaller, more immediate steps that will bring them to realize this goal. Having a bigger vision is important, but a step-by-step formula makes it more possible.

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6. Keeping goals and dreams a secret

Happy people love the concept of a mastermind where people share their challenges and come up with a list of solutions, or brainstorm ideas, using the group’s synergy.

7. Speaking ill of others

It may be tempting to gossip about others behind their back, but when you talk negatively, you take in the negative energy yourself.

Think about the last time you spoke (or thought) badly of someone behind their back. How did you feel afterwards? Not overly enthusiastic, for sure. Instead, focus on others’ strengths and positive habits and highlight what makes them special.

8. Not living in alignment with your values

Alignment with your values is an emotional state you want to feel on a regular basis. For example, your top values could be love, honesty, integrity and success. Make a list of your top ten values and then on the other side of the paper, write down how you are meeting these values in different areas of your life.

Now, write down all areas where your values are not being met. You have discovered the loopholes. What can you do to change that? (For a full list of values, go here.)

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9. Not accepting what cannot be changed

Happy people are adaptable – they easily adjust themselves to accept what is not possible. If you’re unhappy about something, notice how your ego holds onto it and won’t let go of the fact that you cannot change it.

This brings more pain that has especially to do with trying to control others or external situations. The person you can change the easiest is you. Happy people get that and bring their energy to what can be controlled – that is, they themselves.

10. Holding grudges

The more you focus on how someone hurt you last year by making a mean statement, the more you will hold on to anger, negativity and resentment. All these take a whole lot of your energy for nothing in return.

Perhaps the other person feels miserable, too. Perhaps they are holding a grudge against you. No one is happy that way. To forgive and forget is hard but pays well in the long run. You will be free from the shackles of the negative bond, and you have more room for better experiences in your life.

What other habit would you add to the list of mistakes that happy people never make? Share with us in the comments below!

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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